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Warming Food on Shabbat

Guidelines for Warming Food on Shabbos Rabbi Binyamin Krohn

**PLEASE NOTE: The laws of warming food on Shabbos are numerous and quite detailed. This guide cannot serve in place of taking the time to learn this topic in a thorough fashion. It should also be noted that there is a wide variety of opinions on these issues. Nevertheless, these guidelines provide my approach to some of the basic rules for this area of halacha.

I. How can I keep my food warm on Friday Night?

a. Any type of food (solids or liquids) may be left directly on the blech (sheet of metal on top of a burner), hot plate, in a warming drawer (see details below), in a chulent pot (which has the knob covered), or in an oven (under the conditions listed below) as long as they are placed there before Shabbos begins.

b. Food should NOT be left on the stove top without a blech.

II. What types of foods may be warmed on Shabbos Morning?

a. Any fully cooked “dry” foods may be warmed up. Dry is defined as any item which does not contain a significant amount of liquid in it. For example, one may not reheat soup, meatballs in sauce, or brisket/chicken in gravy. However, one may take the brisket/chicken out of the gravy and reheat it (even if there still remains some liquid on the meat itself), as long there is no gravy in the pan.

III. What methods of reheating may be utilized once Shabbos has begun?

a. The following methods are permissible for use. In all of these cases, fully cooked “dry” foods may be taken directly out of the refrigerator and placed on these items at any time on Shabbos:

i. ANY hot plate (if it has a knob to adjust the temperature it must be covered).

ii. A blech on top of a flame with another tin flipped upside down on top of it.

iii. A warming drawer may be used under the following conditions: The temperature controls should be covered entirely with multiple pieces of tape (so that they cannot be easily removed all at once) and the inside of the drawer should be lined with tin foil which should protrude out of the drawer (so that it is visible from the outside).

b. An OVEN SHOULD NOT BE USED to reheat food at any time on Shabbos.

IV. What about SABBATH MODE ovens?

The Star-K kashrus organization certifies a number of ovens which have a “Sabbath Mode” function. The name “Sabbath Mode” has created some confusion, as the name implies that these types of ovens may be used without any restrictions on Shabbos. This is not correct. The following is a summary of the guidelines the Star- K itself recommends for oven use on Shabbos, and guidelines with which I am comfortable as well:

In order to use one’s oven on Friday night – whether Sabbath Mode or not - the food must be fully cooked and placed in the oven from before Shabbos. One must make certain that the oven light will not turn on and off from opening/closing the door. The oven may be opened ONE TIME on Shabbos in order to remove ALL of the food. Food MAY NOT be placed in ANY oven once Shabbos has begun. One must also make sure to cover the oven controls with something like aluminum foil, being careful not cover the vents.

The full Star-K letter which describes the Star-K’s approach to this issue can be found on their website.

As always, if you have any question regarding these guidelines (or anything else) feel free to reach out to me: or (201) 527-5548.

It is my hope that these guidelines provide a framework which clarifies some of these important issues. I hope to offer a shiur in the coming months to clarify this issue even more, as this is an issue that requires a more thorough analysis.


Rabbi Krohn

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyyar 5784